Moniz takes office

22 May 2013

Ernest Moniz was sworn in yesterday as the 13th US Secretary of Energy at a ceremony in Washington, DC.

Moniz sworn in (DoE) 460
Moniz (left), with his wife Naomi, after being sworn in by Poneman (right) (Image: DoE)

In a ceremony attended by family, friends and Department of Energy (DoE) employees, Moniz was sworn in yesterday as energy secretary by deputy energy secretary Daniel Poneman.

Following his investiture, Moniz told his DoE colleagues, "I look forward to the progress we will make together in the coming years." He added, "I believe we can, and must, commit ourselves to the highest standards of management excellence, delivering results for the American people as efficiently and effectively as possible and enhancing our capacity to succeed in our critical missions."

Moniz is no stranger to the DoE. He served as under-secretary of energy for President Bill Clinton from 1997 to 2001, taking responsibility for the department's network of 17 national laboratories. He has since been the Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics and Engineering Systems at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and director of its Energy Initiative and its Laboratory for Energy and the Environment.

He was announced as President Barack Obama's choice for energy secretary in early March. His appointment was confirmed by the full Senate in a unanimous vote on 16 May. He takes over from the Nobel laureate Stephen Chu, who has served as energy secretary since 2009.

On nuclear power, Moniz takes a pragmatic view, saying it would be a "mistake ... to let Fukushima cause governments to abandon nuclear power and its benefits." He wrote this in a November 2011 article for Foreign Affairs magazine. Recognizing the benefits of nuclear power in terms of reliable, low-carbon generation, Moniz listed some of the problems that should be overcome in the USA to allow nuclear to fulfil its potential. These include economic issues of high build and capital costs the construction of new plants, as well as developing a new high-level waste disposal strategy. He has also called for the US government to support the development of small modular reactors.

Moniz told colleagues, "I hope we can all look back over the next three and a half years and say that we accomplished important work for the American people."

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News